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Waste not want not means there's frequently something to chew on

Date

Jonathan Swan

OzHarvest's Pasquale Maglione, left, and Allen Gnesin.

OzHarvest's Pasquale Maglione, left, and Allen Gnesin.

EVERY Friday afternoon a yellow truck collects Allen Gnesin's leftovers. Mashed potatoes, chicken pies, lasagnes, roast beef and vegetables are delivered to hungry men, women and children throughout Sydney.

''I feel a little better that I'm not just throwing out good food,'' said Mr Gnesin, who donates to OzHarvest, a food rescue charity.

Mr Gnesin's leftovers are modest - he runs a small carvery in a North Sydney shopping centre - but a government-backed campaign that will be launched tomorrow asks small businesses like Mr Gnesin's to save ''every bit'' of unsold food they would normally throw away.

Sydney businesses are dumping 225,000 tonnes of ''pre-consumer'' food or roughly 450 million potential meals into landfill every year, according to NSW government figures.

''No matter how efficiently you run your business, you will always end up with some kind of food waste, much of which is edible,'' said Jon Dee, the founder of Do Something!, the lobby group behind the campaign.

Tomorrow, Mr Dee and the Environment Minister, Robyn Parker, will launch the ''food donation tool kit'' - a guide that tells businesses how and where to donate their leftovers. It introduces NSW's three food rescuers - Foodbank, OzHarvest and SecondBite.

Mr Dee says the most common reason why businesses bin food rather than donate is that they fear legal retribution due to health risks. Strict laws used to prevent businesses from donating food to charities, but a 2005 amendment to the Food Donations Act protects donors provided the food is given ''in good faith'' and is safe to eat when handed over.

A number of small cafes and restaurants told the Herald that the reason they do not donate food is because they have nothing left over. Many said they would be out of business if they repeatedly wasted food.

3 comments

  • Hey I recognise that takeaway shop! Great food, portions and service, go there at least once a week. :)

    Commenter
    Jill
    Location
    psychedelia
    Date and time
    May 21, 2012, 1:52PM
    • It would be interesting to see how much raw food like fruit & vegies get thrown out because they are 'cosmetically unacceptable'. I was at a convention in the US in 1995 and a BILLION dollars worth of produce was thrown away just at the Los Angeles Fruit & Veg Wholesale Market each year because they were cosmetically unacceptable, and the Los Angeles County was picking up $100M just for the dumping fees. A guy picked up a Presidential Citation for recycling the fruit and veg into soup kitchens around the greater L.A area. This scheme was extended into 37 municipal regions around the US.

      Commenter
      John Holmes
      Location
      Shopping on the internet
      Date and time
      May 21, 2012, 4:30PM
      • Wonder if OzHarvest could accept excess vegetables from home veggie-gardeners as well. People often end up with too much of something, or no time to cook one week and can't use that week's harvest.

        Commenter
        el
        Date and time
        May 22, 2012, 9:38PM
        Comments are now closed
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